40 Rare Behind the Scenes Photos Showing the Making of ‘The Shining’

The Shining (1980) is creative director Stanley Kubrick’s intense, epic, gothic horror film and haunted house masterpiece – a beautiful, stylish work that distanced itself from the blood-letting and gore of most modern films in the horror genre. It is considered one of the greatest horror movies of all time.

The film’s source material from science-fiction/horror author Stephen King’s 1977 best-selling novel by the same name, bears little resemblance to Kubrick’s creation.

Kubrick’s quest for perfection was taken to new levels during the making of The Shining. Crew members broke down in tears and actors found themselves asked to do over 127 takes (The Guinness Book World record) for a single shot. Other stories include: Kubrick agonizing for months on the color of the titles in the opening credits; calling Stephen King obsessively at 3 AM asking him if he believed in God; frantically changing scenes at the last second; forcing Jack Nicholson to eat cheese sandwiches (which he hated) to portray disgust; and pushing actress Shelly Duvall’s sanity till her hair started falling out. Jack Nicholson was so disturbed by the way Shelly Duvall and Scatman Crothers were treated that he vowed never to work on a Kubrick film again.

Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall.
2nd Unit camera operator Jeff Blyth, Jeff’s wife, and their camera assistant doubling for the Torrance family in many unused shots of the car and wearing costumes from the film. Note their “Tony” finger poses.
The facade of the Overlook Hotel set under construction on the backlot at EMI Elstree Studios.
Lisa and Louise Burns, who portrayed the Grady Sisters, prepare for a shot on the games room set. Kelvin Pike operates the camera and Camera Assistant Peter Robinson holds the slate.
Lisa and Louise Burns as the Grady Sisters.
Steadicam inventor Garrett Brown takes actor Danny Lloyd for a ride on his Steadicam just outside the hedge maze set on the backlot at MGM Elstree Studios. Brown discovered that Danny was about the same weight as the camera, so he would often give the boy rides in a makeshift swing hanging from the device.
Stanley Kubrick, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd sits in the lap of his on-set coach and longtime Kubrick assistant Leon Vitali. To the left, Kubrick’s daughter Vivian holds the camera she used to film the Making of The Shining documentary. Behind them, Steadicam inventor Garrett Brown stands with camera operator Kelvin Pike and another unidentified crew member.
Actor Danny Lloyd (Danny Torrance) on set.
Fake blood splashed on the walls of the hallway set where the Grady Sisters appear.
Stanley Kubrick, Jack Nicholson (Jack Torrance), and Shelley Duvall (Wendy Torrance) rehearse.
Stanley Kubrick and Jack Nicholson on set.
Stanley Kubrick and Jack Nicholson on set.
Joe Turkel (Lloyd), Stanley Kubrick, and Jack Nicholson on set.
Stanley Kubrick reviews a take with Jack Nicholson on the Gold Room set. Watching from behind are Kubrick assistant Leon Vitali, actor Joe Turkel, Camera Operator Kelvin Pike and Director of Photography John Alcott.
Philip Stone (Delbert Grady) and Jack Nicholson between takes.
Jack Nicholson on set.
Jack Nicholson, (in reflection) Stanley Kubrick and daughter, Vivian, on set.
Jack Nicholson and Stanley Kubrick on set.
Shelley Duvall, Jack Nicholson, and crew on set.
Stanley Kubrick and Shelley Duvall on set.
Stanley Kubrick and Jack Nicholson during continuity Polaroid.
A combination of real axes and axe handles with lightweight fiberglass heads was used during production.
Crew member between takes.
Jack Nicholson and Stanley Kubrick watching video playback.
Jack Nicholson and Stanley Kubrick watching video playback.
Filming Dick Hallorann’s death scene on the lobby set. Stanley Kubrick composes the insert shot of the axe striking Hallorann’s chest. A special effects artist kneeling to the right of Jack Nicholson holds a bag of fake stage blood, with tubing to deliver the blood running up the handle of the axe.
Stunt Double for Scatman Crothers (Dick Hallorann).
Crew between takes.
Scatman Crothers on set.
Jack Nicholson on set.
Stanley Kubrick, Jack Nicholson, Steadicam inventor Garrett Brown, Kubrick’s daughter, Vivian, Continuity Supervisor June Randall, and others.
Shelley Duvall and Danny Lloyd during continuity Polaroid.
Stanley Kubrick and Shelley Duvall.
Jack Nicholson on the exterior set of the Overlook Hotel at EMI Elstree Studios.
Jack Nicholson on the exterior set of the Overlook Hotel at EMI Elstree Studios.
Grip Dennis Lewis, Assistant Director Brian Cook, Camera Operator Kelvin Pike, and Camera Assistant Douglas Milsome set up a shot for in the exterior hedge maze set on the backlot of Elstree Studios.
Jack Nicholson posing for his final moment frozen in the snow. This side angle reveals the crude bracing system of wood and styrofoam that was built to hold Nicholson as still as possible for the lengthy shot.
Jack Nicholson posing for his final moment frozen in the snow.
Jack Nicholson posing for his final moment frozen in the snow.
Jack Nicholson’s personal working copy of the screenplay, on display at the California Museum in Sacramento, CA in 2008.

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